The illegal hunting of animals has taken the lives of so many creatures that it may be too late to reverse the damage. Whether it's turtle shells transformed into high-end jewelry or tiger's whiskers used in traditional Eastern medicine (which experts urge should be practiced with caution), the animals behind these coveted status symbols have been poached faster than their populations can recover. Though animals occasionally fight back, it's a losing battle - but they don't need to disappear entirely.
Animals listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature are given certain protections that promise heavy jail time and massive fines for poachers, but it's not always effective. The population of black rhinos has shrunk by 97.6% since 1960, and their horns still sell for tens of thousands despite their endangered status. For animals at risk of endangerment (like the 35,000 African elephants poached each year), protections are scarce.
In your lifetime, it's likely that some of these animals will go extinct in the wild unless conservationists can step in.